Holland St & College Ave Mobility Improvements

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This year, the City will be resurfacing the roadways and sidewalks of Holland Street from Davis Square to Teele Square, and of College Avenue, from Davis Square to Power House Circle. This project presents an opportunity to reconsider the surface roadway configuration and pavement markings in line with the City’s transportation goals to promote sustainable, multi-modal transportation and improve traffic safety for all users.

This year, the City will be resurfacing the roadways and sidewalks of Holland Street from Davis Square to Teele Square, and of College Avenue, from Davis Square to Power House Circle. This project presents an opportunity to reconsider the surface roadway configuration and pavement markings in line with the City’s transportation goals to promote sustainable, multi-modal transportation and improve traffic safety for all users.


Please provide your feedback to the project team on the final design:

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Is the bike lane on Holland Street going to be painted green with bike images to indicate to cars not to park in it (similar to parts of College Ave.)? I was biking home around 7:30pm tonight (coming north on Holland) and there were multiple cars parked either entirely or partially in the bike lane (at least one was live parked, but not all).

I was really excited about the protected bike lane the first time I biked home in it about a week ago, but if I'm gonna have to constantly maneuver around cars (potentially moving into the car lane, where they're understandably not expecting me), it's gonna be a lot less good.

Elizabeth S. 11 months ago

The new construction at Holland and Cameron is dangerous. I took an older pedestrian to hospital/ER 3 weeks ago after she fell and hit her head on the unmarked step-up-and-down. That curbing should be bordered with orange safety paint, at least. I have reported this to 311 and the Mayor's office and received no reply.

tzh about 1 year ago

Love the Holland St. plan. I live on Elmwood St and think it’s great. Thank you for all the hard work something like this requires.

Tim about 1 year ago

Will these bike people provide any income such as excise taxes...license fees... ? Insurance for the auto people? How to carry groceries on a bike? Forcing Somerville elderly out of City and a bad move for local businesses. Driving is bad enough in this City. Bikers believe they have right of way. This is nuts...

Marie34 about 1 year ago

After attending the Zoom-only presentation, listening to all of the speakers, and studying the City plans, I am concerned about the significant use-change for this part of Somerville. The City is proposing a retrofitted “protected lane” for cyclists running the length of Holland St from Teele Square to Davis Square. Holland Street is narrow and services a dense neighborhood. Rather than make the streets safer for everyone, this plan reduces shared access for residents and has the potential to create a dangerous speed-corridor that would continue to put pedestrians at risk.

This proposed design is for commuters, not for the neighbors, visitors or businesses in the area.

Rather than banishing parking for residents and visitors and creating a car and cycle commuter corridor, we need to reduce the speed of all vehicles. We also should be realistic about E-Bikes, which can reach speeds of 15+ miles per hour and are increasingly being used by bike commuters. Narrow bike lanes put E-Bikes, powered scooters and aggressive riders in the same row as slower riders, Blue Bike riders and children.

Major Concerns:

Speeding Traffic: The primary cause of the backups, and danger to pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers alike, is the speed that all vehicles achieve going downhill on Holland from Teele Square. Without a Stop sign, they fly through the intersection, increasing speed towards Davis Square unless traffic slows them down. This also causes Cameron Ave, which has a Stop sign and a bike lane on the uphill length, to become hopelessly backed up, sometimes as far down as the Cambridge line, every single weekday for hours at a stretch.

Skinny Roads: If the City wants to create protected lanes for cyclists on narrow two-way streets they should do it properly and raise those lanes to sidewalk height. Bollards on skinny streets make what little parking that remains difficult to maneuver and puts passengers directly in the travel lane while trying to get in or out of their cars.

Unsafe Passage: The current proposal from the City has no safe place for anyone traveling from Teele Square to Davis Square to pull over. Not for deliveries, for an emergency, to pick someone up or drop them off at a home, the T, the Park, or to get a cab or ride-share.

Pedestrian Danger: Pedestrians are crossing the street where fast moving drivers and cyclists will be the norm.

Shared Use of Space: The Hodgkins/Curtin Park attracts families from all over Somerville. Regional youth team sports are played there. It’s not reasonable to take away most of the parking. It’s ageist and ableist and unnecessary along this stretch of road.

Pedestrian Danger: There really needs to be a crosswalk at Holland and Irving/Thorndike. The goal should be traffic calming, pedestrian friendly.

Safer Alternative Route: Cyclists traveling up College Ave already have a safer and faster route to Teele Square by turning Right on Winter Street. This is a good place for a painted bike lane on the left.

These are a few of my concerns as a long time car-free resident. I submitted a detailed/modified proposal that also focuses on traffic calming and pedestrian safety directly to the Traffic Commission, Mayor and others.

Eleanor about 1 year ago

Please consider adding more speed bumps, including at intersection with Irving and Thurston since plan to raise intersection there is uncertain and a long way off. Speed bumps to slow cars before they approach Buena Vista from both sides should be considered to slow vehicles in area of bicycle crossover up/down Buena Vista. Let’s get more bikes safely and quickly through Davis Sq (such a pain/time drain to dismount with kids to walk across the bumpy tree roots outside JP licks), especially with Community Path extension to Lechmere opening soon. The ones on Lowell Street have been great in slowing down traffic!

Brianna about 1 year ago

Personally, I am not eager to grant a special status or special privileges to the often annoying, foolish, reckless and lawless bicyclers now impinging on city
streets. Though few in number, they and their enablers are making an unholy mess for the rest of us living in the established culture here.

As a pedestrian, I had never been knocked down by bike until a few months ago when one traveling on a bike lane IN THE WRONG DIRECTION did just that. And from even a cursory observation of the bike traffic on Mass Ave it is clear that the practice is not uncommon. Also motorized scooters and bicycles zip down these lanes at high rates of speed, maneuvering around women transporting toddlers. If these practice are legal, they should not be.

When it comes to fiddling with traffic patterns, often less is more. The unforeseen consequences of complicated changes need ever more levels of
complication to correct the mistakes, and gives a result bound to be less safe and less efficient than doing nothing.

...And parking spots in the middle of the road requiring a smart phones to use -
nasty and ridiculous.

Retro about 1 year ago

The proposed design for the intersection of Holland and Broadway is unsafe, because you have the bike lane crossing over a slip lane. That is a right hook waiting to happen. The slip lane should be removed and replaced by a Dutch style protected bike intersection. The bike lane crossing over Broadway should run straight across Broadway, shortening the crossing distance and improving visibility for cars turning right onto Broadway. The two other existing car lanes could remain as-is, except that cars turning right would use the lane that is currently marked as straight only.

Lee Morgan about 1 year ago

Thank you so much for finally addressing the traffic issues on Holland Street. As a resident of the area who regularly frequents Powderhouse, Davis and Teele square, I am often ill at ease biking or skating down Holland Street.

This street is a narrow, heavily trafficked thoroughfare, with very little in the way of human-centered design to date. I am regularly forced ride on the yellow lines to avoid idling rideshares and food delivery cars, and have more than once had to swerve when yet another driver opens a door or pulls out without looking. I believe that having a protected bike lane will greatly improve safety for myself and people I care about.

Like other respondents, I think there's a key tweak which would improve this plan further. We should convert more parking spots to pick up and drop off spots. This serves both public safety and business needs by making it easier for rideshares and local delivery vehicles to load/unload legally, rather than endagering cyclists and blocking bus stops on the street.

I won't waste much time contesting the baseless claims that these changes will make it impossible for local residents to park their cars in the area. In addition to cycling, skating, and running in the area, I also have to occasionally drive, and I regularly have visitors come by via car. Outside of one time—during a literal blizzard—I have never had an issue finding a parking spot within a block of my residence, nor have I had a visitor report having such trouble. We have more than enough parking. There's no need to incentivize more people to drive into one of the most transit-dense areas in the city.

George, in Ward 5 about 1 year ago

Yesss! Thank you to the city for submitting and considering a design that takes folks like me into consideration. Like many students at Tufts, I don't own a car and love to bicycle around Somerville and Medford. Infrastructure like this allows me to do it safely and lets me know that Somerville's resources are being allocated toward optimizing safe travel for everyone instead of being used to store privately owned vehicles.

Matt.Carstensen about 1 year ago

I would like to voice my support for the addition of protected bike lanes on this stretch, even at the cost of street parking. I live in the area and walk, bike, or drive along this corridor multiple times a day. As things stand, people drive far too recklessly on this stretch, making for a dangerous situation for both cyclists and pedestrians. Putting in protected bike lanes will not only make biking safer, but also, I hope, slow down car traffic and perhaps encourage drivers to do things like actually stop at stop signs. This change would improve quality of life and allow me - and I suspect others - to switch car trips to bike or walk trips.In a dense neighborhood like this, with multiple mass transit options, parking and car traffic should be the lowest priority, even if it might sometimes inconvenience me personally (as a car-owning person who lives and parks nearby).
I do have two concerns:
1. How will the bike lanes be protected? Paint alone does not make for a secure bike lane in my experience - people just drive right through. Flex posts are OK but often people will drive through those too. I'd like to see more sturdy bollards, or planters, or something that would more effectively impede cars from veering through.
2. Bus access. This is an important corridor for people traveling to and from points west to the Davis red line stop, and more eastern parts of Somerville. I don't have any specific ideas for how to ensure the speed and reliability of bus travel along this stretch could be conserved and improved, but it should be a priority.

Cameron Ave Resident about 1 year ago

I like the final design and strongly support having protected bike lanes that make biking safer for our neighbors. As a father of two young children that bike and walk with me, I love that I live in a city that treats public spaces as shared spaces where everyone can feel safe. I know that some parking will disappear, but I think this is a benefit and will encourage people to seek alternative ways of reaching their destinations.

BenjaminWeber about 1 year ago

I have to join many of my neighbors and friends who are annoyed and or angry about the anti-driver/car stance this new government is taking. Most residents of Somerville have to have cars to get to work, to get their kids to school and do errands and few of these things can be done on a bike.
The constant eradication of parking spaces (or replacing them with meters) in favor of cyclists is greatly lowering the quality of life and ability to live in this city. I have lived in five different states in this country and three foreign countries and I've never seen such a campaign of harassment directed against resident drivers anywhere else. No one is opposed to safety for cyclists and pedestrians but plans that achieve this by punishing residents for owning cars are blatantly unfair and undermine the interests and quality of life of a majority of residents. The death of the elderly cyclist is awful but using that for justification to enforce more restrictions on all drivers just doesn't make sense. A few years ago, an acquaintance of ours was rammed in the back by a cyclist while in a pedestrian crosswalk in Harvard Square. He suffered near fatal injuries, but Cambridge did not use this incident as a rationale to enact punitive measures against cyclists. Lately, we can't even get the street cleaned in front of our house anymore because drivers won't move their cars once parked--they'd rather pay the parking tickets than have to find other spaces. Who can blame them? My wife and I gave up our own car awhile back and now have to rely on expensive rentals and the ever disintegrating and unreliable MBTA. I don't recommend this for anyone but that seems to be what the City wants with its policies which protect cyclists while punishing car owners. I need to point out that car owners are also VOTERS and elections come sooner or later. But they do come.

Lionel about 1 year ago

Thanks for putting this together, generally looks good. Two comments:
1) I'd like to see less metered parking and more pickup/dropoff spaces. None of this will work well if delivery and ride share vehicles are double-parked everywhere.
2) Might be out of scope, but both of the crosswalks crossing College Ave between Statue Park and Davis Station East Entrance are really dangerous to pedestrians. a) The southern crosswalk (for lack of a better term) gives pedestrians a walk light at the same time cars turning right off of Highland have a green arrow. I think most people interpret a green arrow to mean they have right of way, so they assume no one will be crossing. b) the northern crosswalk is even worse. Cars headed south on College Ave. often have a red light at the crosswalk, and a green light a few yards ahead of it. In that situation, it's not clear that the red light means "stop *before* the crosswalk", AND many drivers see the upcoming green light and don't notice the red one. The result is cars constantly blowing through the crosswalk while pedestrians have a walk signal.

tbgeorge about 1 year ago

Taking parking spaces away from people that have no other option other than taking parking spaces on the side streets will take away spaces from the people that live on those streets. Putting metered spaces in front of peoples residents is also taking away spaces. The off street parking issue would benefit the real estate developers that own property. I don't ride a bike I drive. Preventing me from driving will limit me from doing my errands and other essential travel

Claremon st. resident about 1 year ago

Understanding that this initiative’s primary aim is to increase public safety, and reduce the risk of serious injury or death for road users such as cyclists and pedestrians, it is important to establish and regulate the speed at which vehicles travel along Holland Street . While the posted speed limit is 20 mph, there are view visible roadsigns and none for vehicles entering Holland Street from Cameron Avenue. What about more effective speed limit road signage?

The proposed bike lane operates in one direction from Davis to Teele Square, which is uphill. Since downhill travel enables users to go faster with less effort, would it be prudent to have a bike lane going downhill from Teele toward Davis?

Ref. Teele Square to Claremon Street Proposed Regulations: what is the likelihood of ongoing car parking in front of the bank and pizzeria and what impact would this have on the effectiveness of the proposed plan?

Ref. Holland/ Cameron intersection: what about traffic signals; pedestrian crossing lights; or hatch lines to reduce hazards?

Ref. Paulina to Simpson in front of Hodgkins - Curtin Park: How convenient is the loading zone for the retail stores between Simpson and Wallace? What about restricting the metered parking between Simpson and Wallace to after 10 am to allow for morning deliveries and substituting the Curtin Park loading zone with metered parking?

Ref. Holland Street/ College Ave. corner: What proposed provisions are there for the (mainly Tufts) buses and delivery trucks currently using this intersection?

Ref. Summer Outdoor Dining areas along Holland Street (i.e PJ Ryans and Spoke Wine Bar): How will the proposed plan affect their continuation?

Peter G about 1 year ago

I am very worried about how this will turn out. Please read the last sentence of this feedback now to fully understand my concerns. Other comments I have read through purpose inappropriate safety measures, false driving aids, and massive disruptions to the fluidity of all or certain transporters. A system of transportation that works to get EVERYONE to where they are going quickly, efficiently, and without disruption will result in a much safer commuting environment. As a regular commuter via car, electric scooter, and walking, the traffic patterns we have been building around Cambridge often do more harm than help.

This is what I recommend picture by picture of the official proposal:
1. Intersection of Holland/Broadway/Curtis into an open double traffic circle. Like a figure 8 with no islands, one by Curtis and one by the Broadway/Holland triangle Island. Cars will go slow and drive safe by necessity. Bike lanes should trace the outside of the double circle, while cars navigate the inside.
2. Put BOTH bike lane directions on one side of the street for cyclists of both directions to share (as wide as one traffic lane). Separate the mega bike lane with parking, which would have to be closer to the middle of the street. Make the lanes of traffic squished to the side of the fire station, which will always have an open exit because never is there two stopped lanes of traffic there and bikes will be on the other side of the street.
3. Take the away the curbs that were installed. The mega bike path is undisturbed on the opposite side from Cameron. Incorporate a 3-way stop for cars with crosswalks that cyclists can use to turn into Cameron.
4. Paulina is a difficult street to turn into. At precisely that intersection, narrow the mega bike path slightly and widen the lane on the side of Gorham. This is to allow cars turning left on Paulina to stop and wait for an opening safely without blocking traffic behind them.
5. Mega bike lane does great here. Cars coming from Simpson or Irving first cross the bike lane, then have space to stop again to turn into Holland. The line of parked cars creates a zone for turning vehicles to wait. The proposed bike lane cross onto Bueno Vista could also be at Thorndike and Jay.
6. Mega bike lane comes to an end at the outstanding crosswalk by Davis Sq T Station. Instead of having a bus only lane, have extra parking to separate the mega bike lane before the crosswalk, remove the parking and shift the lanes momentarily closer to the bike lane (still with separation) where buses need to stop so that they do not disturb the flow of traffic (even though that is a high priority of the MBTA).

With the changes done on Massachusetts Avenue, it has become evident that highly structured "safe" road and line designs do not encourage safe driving habits. A street riddled with stop light intersections, non-intersection/stoplight crosswalks, pseudo bus lane/parking/load zones depending on time of day, and way too many signs in general (too many to read SAFELY while driving, is not a safe street). I have to cross at one of the blinking yellow light crosswalks every day to get to my car to commuter, I often times see cars brake frantically and accelerate to zoom by, neither makes me feel safe. I really hope the plan we decide on works well for everyone.

Again, the current proposal is worrisome to me because research shows that shared space road designs or variations with shared space influences actually increase efficiency, reduce traffic, and are safer. (Vox's YouTube video about traffic engineering in the US)

Dario Fiorentini about 1 year ago

The designated bike lanes are an absolute necessity! We need to make streets safer for everybody that uses them, cars seem to be extra aggressive in Holland st and having dedicated bike lanes will increase safety for them.

Please install some sort of barrier to completely separate the bike lane from the traffic. Plastic posts will not be sufficient. Also please make sure there is enough room around the parklets for bikes to safely bike around these structures. We also need enforcement when cars park in bike lanes.

I fully support the adding separated protected bike lanes in Holland St. The city should add them in Broadway to avoid any other fatalities.

Francisco Rosales about 1 year ago

I used to ride my bike up and down Holland frequently. These designated bike lanes are much needed. The improvements for pedestrians and bus riders are also appreciated.

MOD about 1 year ago

Thank you for collecting community input and for engaging us with the plan.

One issue I see with the proposal is that there is no parking/loading option coming from Teele into Davis for Atrius Health, the T station, and the daycare before 9am. The Atrius parking lot on Buena Vista is outrageously expensive ($3 for 30 minutes), so it is not a viable option in the current state.

Like others have expressed, I don't understand the proposal for the parklets. Further, the existing Spoke parklet makes visibility very difficult for left turns coming from Simpson onto Holland. I only see that getting worse with a bike lane in the mix.

Have more radical solutions been studied/considered? It seems like this proposal takes the current traffic patterns as given, but I wonder if there could be an even better solution if navigation through Davis Square was dramatically different (e.g. what if Winter was used more effectively? What if Holland was one way past Buena Vista? What if Holland was one way and cars were routed down Broadway the other direction? What if there were stop lights and pedestrian crossing signals across from the Atrius Health or the T station?).

Finally, I agree with other commenters (and have been writing in to 311 and to Mayor Ballantyne directly for YEARS) about safety on Broadway. Can Broadway please become a priority?

Broadway could also be part of the solution since it also runs into Teele Square. Like with the radical car navigation ideas, there could also be one for protected bike lanes - a protected bike lane in one direction from Davis to Teele on College/Broadway and another heading from Teele to Davis on Holland.

I would love if this solution was a true fix and not a bandaid.

Thanks for listening to our feedback!

SomervilleSquared about 1 year ago
Page last updated: 18 Sep 2023, 01:44 PM